New CT Anti-Sexual Harassment Law

June, 2019



Employers should be aware that the Connecticut legislature has made some big changes on our state’s anti-sexual harassment laws with the legislative session just ending.  These changes also mean new employer obligations in dealing with claims of sexual harassment at the workplace.

The brief summary that follows applies only to private employers, since there are also some provisions that apply to state agencies.

  1. Sexual Harassment Training.

Currently, employers with at least 50 employees are required to give their supervisors two hours of training on state and federal sexual harassment laws and remedies.

The new law will require employers OF ALL SIZES to give training to supervisors by October 1, 2020 (or within six months of appointment as supervisor after that time).

The training must be updated every 10 years.

If employers do not provide such training, employees may bring an action in the CT Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, (CHRO), or court as a “discriminatory practice.”  The fine for failing to provide training will be $750.00.

  1. Timeline for Filing Discrimination and Harassment Claims Before the CHRO.

Another big change is the expansion of the time to file claims at the CHRO from 180 days to 300 days, which is consistent with the current federal law.  This applies to claims of discrimination that occur on or after October 1, 2019.

  1. New Remedies Available AT CHRO Public Hearings.

In addition to the current law allowing CHRO Human Rights Referees to award reinstatement and backpay to successful complainants, the new law will allow actual costs incurred by the complainant, as well as “reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.”  Backpay can go back up to two years before a complaint was filed.

  1. Punitive Damages in Court.

This new law will allow for a court/jury to award punitive damages to the successful plaintiff.

  1. CHRO Allowed to Enter Into Businesses For Inspection.

The CHRO is now authorized under this new law to enter an employer’s business during business hours to ensure compliance with the posting requirements and to review all records, policies, procedures and training materials maintained by the employer.

These are large, sweeping changes to our state discrimination laws which continue the practice of making Connecticut’s discrimination laws more liberal than federal law.

CT employers must heed these new changes.

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